Enterprise hits and misses - remote work gets long-term traction, while Salesforce and Workday issue notable earnings reports

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed June 1, 2020
This week - is the remote work surge now a permanent workplace fixture? And is Hertz somewhat to blame for its own Corona-woes? Also: it was a bellwether kind of week for enterprise earnings. As always, your whiffs.


Lead story - If work from home is here to stay, what are the implications? by Kurt Marko

MyPOV: I've seen some linkbait specials goofy pieces about how remote work isn't all it's cracked up to be, or how our collective productivity has gone down.

Is that anything near fair? Remote work isn't meant to be lockdown 24/7. That said, has the forced remote push - however non-ideal it has been - provoked a permanent change?

Kurt parses a slew of fresh data and WFH announcements, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who thinks half their workforce might be remote in five years.

Kurt cites a report from social network site Blind:

Blink found that almost two-thirds of respondents from three tech-heavy locales, the Bay Area, New York City and Seattle, would relocate if allowed to work remotely. Indeed, about 14% said they would leave the country if possible.

Leaving the country? Doesn't sound half bad at the moment. Kurt concludes:

It is impossible to predict how such a grand social experiment might play out. Still, it seems likely to increase an organization's geographic diversity, thereby opening the talent pool for many positions.

It's the access to fresh/excluded talent pools that is the remote silver lining of the future - for companies and many individuals.

Perma-WFH should also improve job satisfaction for those that can balance work and personal life when one's home is both castle and office, however, it won't suit everyone. While offices might get small and less dense, they aren't going away.

No, offices won't go away. I traded my crystal ball for some toilet paper and hand sanitizer in March. Still, I believe companies that embrace a permanent remote workforce component will prove their talent advantage - in turn pressuring their office-centric peers. Offices? Yes. But maybe, just maybe, the most soul-crushing ridiculous urban commutes will be perceived for what they are - relics of office-culture-obsessions run amok.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. It was a bellwether kind of week in enterprise software earnings, with enough earnings data to lean optimistic, concerned, or a bit of both.

ServiceNow dished out a motherload of use cases at their Knowledge 2020 event. Derek nabbed a couple more this week:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Mark filed a nifty use case in Northumbrian Water Group CIO Nigel Watson on getting innovation to flow. Meanwhile, Neil braved high performance computing hype to bring us Can supercomputers play a role in the fight against COVID-19?

I found a different angle to bolster my deep work stump speech in Think deep work isn't relevant to software engineers? Think again - Uplevel on the productivity impact of distraction culture. Though I expand this topic from engineers to anyone who wants to leave a proverbial dent in the universe. Finally, Brian takes the cheese wagon wheel memories event nostalgia from a cancelled season and asks, What we haven't missed this user conference season... And yes, Brian, I miss the marching bands and hipster bongo circles...

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

Lead story - Why did Hertz go bust?

MyPOV: It's easy to say that Hertz went bankrupt because the travel industry went off a cliff few of us saw coming - even those with the shiniest most overhyped most expensive AI systems. But I was intrigued by last week's Hertz news, with an analyst saying Avis had a better chance of surviving because it cut costs sooner. This rekindles debates about the factors for failure - and Hertz's decisions specifically.

Eric Kimberling of Third Stage Consulting has been critiquing Hertz's so-called transformation for quite some time. In fact last year, I grilled Kimberling in this very column for perhaps awarding Avis the victory lane too soon. Well, maybe I was wrong. Kimberling updates in Hertz Bankruptcy and the Future of Digital Transformation. Kimberling asks: how could two competitors (Avis and Hertz) have such different transformation results? One big clue? The classic project gotcha:

Hertz lost control of its system integrator, and as a result, the transformation project became misaligned.

Bloomberg takes a deeper view in How Did Hertz Go Bust? This Is the Inside Story. The obvious culprit is the Coronavirus economy. But in the longer view:

[It's a] fable about what happens when a company relies on accounting and consolidation to keep shareholders happy. It's a tale of lurching from one CEO to another and management teams failing to stay attuned to consumer tastes.

Oh, and the worst celebrity endorsement deal of all time (O.J. Simpson). It's obviously a bit unfair to pick on a company with a revenue hit that would put the vast majority of businesses on the ropes. Yet the contrast with Avis is worth noting. Kimberling again:

Losing control of your systems integrator and overall transformation isn't the only problem. Too many companies focus too much on technology and too little on the things that really matter.

Strategy > culture > tech or some such. Go out and buy some shiny new tech toys like Hertz, and you miss the Ubers driving by. Kimberling:

Avis (one of Hertz’s primary competitors) used its digital transformation to overhaul its business model.

Honorable mention

Overworked businessman


Here's one for the "some apologies are better than others file": Mining firm Rio Tinto sorry for destroying Aboriginal caves. Hey, that's ok, it was only 46,000-year-old human relics from the last Ice Age.

On the opposite end of the apology spectrum, from two weeks ago, this one via Derek du Preez: Coronavirus football: FC Seoul apologises for 'sex dolls' in stands. No apology needed here methinks...

This one will require a click or two, but Den Howlett pinged on a colossal interpersonal whiff involving a father who couldn't let go, and went legal instead.

It's been kind of a rough week here in the U.S, with urban strife added to our corona-mix. So I'll leave you with a touch of something better:


If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang. 


Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - Oracle, Workday, ServiceNow, Rimini Street and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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